Categorized & annotated bibliography compiled by Michael Turney
PR book Public Relations Bookshelf
This is a limited and selective bibliography, not a comprehensive one. Items were chosen for their usefulness to public relations students or beginning professionals, although some may also provide insights for more experienced practitioners. The selections and comments reflect the compiler's public relations experience and teaching biases.
Master bibliographic index About the compiler PR class home page

Basic concepts Related on-line readings:
Underlying concepts of public relations
Managing personal and organizational encounters

the Image; A Guide to Pseudo-events in America

by Daniel J. Boorstin
Boorstin, head of the U.S. Library of Congress, is one of the most important thinkers and writers of the 20th century. This book, first published more than 30 years ago, should be read by every educated person. It may affront some PR people who resent Boorstin's concerns (and implied criticisms) of America's growing emphasis on image over reality, image over ideal, and form over substance, but it is certainly thought-provoking.
Harper & Row Publishers:
New York; 1964

The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society

by Kenneth E. Boulding
Boulding never mentions public relations, but his philosophical exploration of knowledge and initial development of an interdisciplinary "theory of the image" is relevant to any thinking public relations practitioner. His social constructionist view of reality has been studied and respected for four decades, and his first proposition "that behavior depends on the image" is intrinsic to any concept of public relations.
The University of Michigan Press:
Ann Arbor; 1956/1968

Power and Influence; Mastering the Art of Persuasion

by Robert L. Dilenschneider
In this book the CEO of Hill and Knowlton, the largest public relations firm in the world, offers a basic yet elegant, discussion of "a very simple relationship: the connection between communication, recognition, and influence" that he calls "the power triangle." He sees it as the heart of all successful management, not just the essence of public relations.
Prentice Hall Press:
New York; 1990

Public Relations

by Edward L. Bernays
In eight decades practicing public relations, Bernays literally -- as well as figuratively -- helped write the book on public relations. The first half of the book is an informative history of public relations from Ancient Sumeria through the 1940s that also outlines Bernays' 1952 view (somewhat modified from his 1923 view) of what PR is and how it ought to be regarded. The second half is case studies of Bernays' work. Some remain informative and interesting today, but many are so dated they serve as little more than historic footnotes.
University of Oklahoma Press:
Norman; 1952/1963

Public Relations: An Overview

edited by H.J. (Jerry) Dalton, Jr.
It's an obvious promotional piece for the PRSA, but it's also a good, albeit skeletonized introduction to the field. Most of its 20 pages are bulleted lists and other concise, but information-packed, overviews of what public relations is, what its practitioners do, who they serve, what they call themselves, and what their ethical standards are supposed to be.
Monograph Series (1:3),
Public Relations Society of America Foundation:
New York; 1991

The Story of Human Communication; Cave Painting to Microchip

by Wilbur Schramm
Narrowly focused literalists may think this book has little relevance to public relations -- Only two chapters, Public Opinion and Advertising & Public Relations, directly address it. -- but its overall perspective on the sweep and scope of communication evolution is fundamental for anyone considering a career in communication. It won't teach you "how to do" public relations, but it's enlightening, humbling, and thought-provoking reading.
Harper & Row Publishers:
New York; 1988

Master bibliographic index On-line readings table of contents PR class home page
 E-mail your reactions or suggest other references to the compiler.